“No!” Followed by little feet sprinting to the next room to hide has become common in your house. Whenever you announce, it’s bedtime, your toddler either lashes out on you with a temper tantrum or dashes away from you to hide. Sometimes, it’s the excuses. Your child announces they want a drink of water, need to peepee, or want to be held! It’s frustrating! Eventually, you will have a toddler hysterical at bedtime!

Luckily, if you understand what’s causing the tantrums, you can prepare before time to smoothen things out.

What you will learn in this post:

  • Why toddler can become hysterical at bedtime
  • 5 Things you can do if you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime
  • Frequently asked questions

Toddler hysterical at bedtime 5 possible reasons

5 Common Reasons Why You Have a Hysterical Toddler at Bedtime

Here are 5 common reasons why you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime.

1. They Want Independence

Around age two, toddlers start learning the power of the word “No,” and the best people to practice it on are their parents. Your toddler starts to assert their independence and will usually choose the worst time to do it, such as bedtime. To find out if this is the case, observe how many times a day, your little one tends to say no. 

During bath time, for instance, check if they willingly agreed to wear what you picked for them or said they’d rather wear something different.

Or maybe they want to eat mashed potatoes with tomato sauce instead of the beef stew you spent hours preparing.

2. They Are Overexcited

Do you usually play games just before bedtime? Or perhaps allow some screen time? Currently, everything your toddler sees is exciting, so they are likely to be overstimulated by the slightest thing.

If your days are filled with tons of activities, for instance, it may be too much for your child, which may overstimulate them.

3. Scared Of Sleeping

Think of a time you were so worried about the mortgage or getting fired, and you couldn’t sleep. The same thing happens to your toddler, but they are concerned about that green monster with eleven eyes. 

At the toddler stage, a kid’s imagination starts taking off, and they think of all sorts of things, some of which could keep them up at night. Even when your child is not afraid of the dark, they may start seeing ghosts, monsters, and other eerie creatures, making it impossible to sleep.

4. Your Toddler Is Overtired

When you are exhausted, all you look forward to is when you will slam down and sleep. For a toddler, however, the opposite is true. When the clock says bedtime, they will still be buzzing with adrenaline making it impossible to settle down.

If they nap too late in the afternoon, your baby will have a lot of unused energy, making it hard to catch some z’s at night.

5. Sleep Regression

Sleep regression generally occurs between eighteen months and two years, at the same time, your child is learning to assert their newfound independence.

Besides noticing your little one wanting to control what time they sleep, they will also resist naps and wake up during the night. 

Toddler hysterical at bedtime? Here Are 5 things to do

Toddlers need to learn independence, but using simple tasks such as carrying the cup to the kitchen is better than allowing them to decide their bedtime. Also, avoid stimulation and ensure your child gets enough sleep, so they aren’t overtired at night.

If your toddler is scared, talk to them about it, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even during a sleep regression. 

If you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime, then follow these 5 tips…

4 Year Old Bedtime Battles and How to Overcome Them Infographic

1. Encourage Independence

Learning ‘grown-ups’ tasks is exciting and encourages your child to learn independence.

Use simple tasks such as choosing their clothes instead of their bedtime and whether to eat veggies or not. This way, you encourage your child’s development, but with limits.

2. Avoid Over Stimulation

During the first five years of life, kid’s brains develop at a high rate and require stimulation. This does not mean you fill their days with activities, toys, and things to do—instead, a balance between quiet time in predictable places, fun activities, and nap time.

Balance keeps your child growing and ensures they are better prepared for bedtime.

Avoid too much stimulation if you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime.

3. Discuss Fears

Talk to your child about what’s keeping them from going to bed, but don’t force them to talk about it if they aren’t ready. Once you know the problem, don’t build or support it by taking a broom and sweeping the monster away. This will only encourage your child to think the monster does exist.

Instead, use a secure object such as a blanket or toy, or offer companionship through sleeping with their older sibling or a pet. Sleeping with a little light on also helps, or maybe you could use a night light projector soothing music. Avoid scary shows on television and look for activities to build your child’s self-confidence.

4. Use Nap Time

Naps give your child the much-needed rest their bodies and minds need to rest and recharge for the day. Also, they ensure your child is not overtired, which makes nap time that much worse. Toddlers still need at least eleven hours of sleep, so ensure they nap during the day.

If you haven’t been using a sleeping schedule, start a routine that will help your child know when it’s time to sleep. This way, your kid will recognize when it’s bedtime and, thus, not resist. If they have been accustomed to a routine but are now resisting, try a different approach, such as starting the routine a little earlier than usual. 

This way, you can transition slowly to bedtime without being mentally exhausted. If this doesn’t work, your toddler may be experiencing sleep regression.

5. Manage Sleep Regression

Sleep regression usually lasts a few weeks, and while it’s frustrating, the best thing you can do is to maintain a consistent bedtime routine. Also, minimize major changes as much as you can, and inform your child beforehand if you can’t avoid something.

For instance, if you need to rush to grandma’s place, let your little one know as opposed to scooping them up, fastening their car seat, and rushing off.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions

What do you do when your toddler screams at bedtime?

If you have a toddler who is hysterical at bedtime then you first need to find out the reason. Once you have found the reason, you need to address that! Also, ensure that you reward good behavior. When your toddler goes to bed like a good toddler, reward them!

How long should you leave a toddler to cry at bedtime?

Experts recommend that you leave your child to scream for a maximum of 5 minutes before paying them a visit.

How do I get my toddler to calm down before bed?

I had the same issue as you! I got over it by establishing a good bedtime routine and sticking to it. Kids love a routine, and by establishing one, you are preparing them for bed. Brush teeth, read a book, lay down with some relaxing music on, and they will drift away without hysterics more often than not. Also – you should limit your toddler’s exposure to technology at least 45 minutes before bed.


It’s frustrating when your child won’t sleep on time, but no matter how rough bedtime war maybe, your secret weapon is always to stay calm. If you have a toddler hysterical at bedtime, then the tips on this page will help!

When it’s bedtime, tell your kid in a calm tone that it’s time to sleep without encouraging negotiation. Instead, comfort your little one, reassure them, and put them to sleep anyway.

Good luck!

About the Author

Dad Gold

Dad, Blogger, part-time superhero. I am giving you all the tips that I wish I had when I was a new dad! Bringing up a child can be tough... and I want to use this blog to give you some parenting tips I picked up throughout my journey as a dad (so far!), along with some recommended gear that I use to help make the dad journey much easier!

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